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Report submitted by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/40


          Economic and Social
          Fifty-ninth session
          Item 11(e) of the provisional agenda
          E/CN.4 12003/66
          15 January 2003
          Original: FRENCH!ENGLISH
          Report submitted by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur
          on freedom of religion or belief, in accordance with Commission
          on Human Rights resolution 2002/40
          GE.03-10306 (E)
          190203 200203
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 2
          Pursuant to resolution 2002/40 of 23 April 2002, the Special Rapporteur on freedom
          of religion or belief hereby submits to the Commission on Human Rights a set of three
          documents comprising the present report, an addendum concerning his visit to Algeria from
          16 to 26 September 2002 (E/CN.4/2002/65/Add. 1) and, for information, the interim report
          submitted to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session (A157/274).
          All the activities carried out as part of the Special Rapporteur's mandate fall into
          two basic areas of concern: operational activities to deal with intolerance and discrimination
          based on religion or belief; and prevention of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or
          In the chapter on operational activities (chap. I), the Special Rapporteur reports on the
          communications sent to States since the publication of the most recent report to the Commission
          and on the replies received. He also records the late replies from States to the communications
          sent before the publication of the last report, discusses in situ visits and their follow-up and
          draws the attention of the Commission to States which have still not complied with his requests
          to visit them, expressing the hope for better cooperation on their part in the interests of all
          In the chapter on prevention of intolerance and discrimination (chap. II), the Special
          Rapporteur deals with the rather particular post-il September 2001 context, before discussing
          the follow-up to the International Consultative Conference on School Education in relation to
          Freedom of Religion and Belief, Tolerance and Non-Discrimination and the interreligious
          In his conclusions and recommendations (chap. III), the Special Rapporteur presents an
          analysis of the communications sent since the last session of the Commission and his comments
          on the situation of religious minorities and women with regard to the freedom of religion or
          belief and on religious extremism. He also refers to the prevention of intolerance and
          discrimination based on religion through interfaith dialogue and school education and to the
          consequences of ii September 2001.
          page 3
          Paragraphs Page
          Introduction 1 - 4 4
          A. Report on communications sent by the Special
          Rapporteur and replies received from States since the
          issuance of the report submitted to the Commission
          on Human Rights at its fifty-eighth session 7 - 79 5
          B. Late replies and additional information 80 - 83 16
          C. In situ visits and their follow-up 84 - 90 16
          II. PREVENTION ACTIVITIES 91 - 128 17
          A. Freedom of religion or belief in the
          post-li September 2001 context 93- 104 18
          B. Follow-up of the International Consultative Conference
          on School Education in relation to Freedom of Religion
          and Belief, Tolerance and Non-Discrimination 105 - 114 19
          C. I nterreligious dialogue 115 - 128 21
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 4
          1. Since 1987, the Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on freedom of
          religion or belief has considered incidents and governmental actions in all parts of the world
          inconsistent with the provisions of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of
          Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief and has recommended remedial
          measures for such situations. Since then, a report has been submitted every year to the
          Commission on Human Rights and, since 1994, to the General Assembly.
          2. In 2001, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration,
          the rapporteur's title was changed from “Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance” to “Special
          Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief'. The Special Rapporteur's competence was thus no
          longer confined to expressions of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief, but
          extended to all issues relating to freedom of religion or belief, whether operational activities to
          deal with intolerance and discrimination or activities to prevent them.
          3. The present report, submitted pursuant to Commission resolution 2002/40, includes, in
          the first place, an account of communications sent by the Special Rapporteur and the replies
          received from States since the publication of the report submitted to the Commission at its
          fifty-eighth session (E/CN.4/2002/73), as well as late replies. This account, which is the
          subject of chapter I, deals with 37 communications (including two urgent appeals) transmitted
          to 24 States, and the replies from those States. The Special Rapporteur then reports on his in situ
          visits and their follow-up.
          4. The Special Rapporteur devotes chapter II to prevention activities in the
          post-il September 2001 context and discusses the follow-up to the International Consultative
          Conference on School Education in relation to Freedom of Religion and Belief, Tolerance and
          Non-Discrimination (Madrid Conference) and the initiatives taken in the course of the year in the
          area of interreligious dialogue. Lastly, in chapter III, the Special Rapporteur analyses violations
          of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based
          on Religion or Belief and makes recommendations aimed at correcting what is a very alarming
          situation, with a view to prevention in particular.
          5. Since the beginning of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur has submitted 38 reports:
          16 general reports to the Commission on Human Rights, 8 interim reports to the
          General Assembly and 14 reports on visits, submitted to the Commission and the
          General Assembly. A number of studies have also been presented, including those prepared
          for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related
          Intolerance (Durban Conference) and for the Madrid Conference. The Special Rapporteur
          also submitted to the Commission, at its fifty-eighth session, a study on the freedom of religion
          or belief and the status of women in the light of religion and traditions (E/CN.4/2002/73/Add.2).
          6. A full report on, and discussion of, the communications sent and replies received since
          the establishment of the Special Rapporteur's mandate was submitted to the General Assembly at
          its fifty-sixth session (A156/253).
          page 5
          A. Report on communications sent by the Special Rapporteur
          and replies received from States since the issuance of the
          report submitted to the Commission on Human Rights at
          its fifty-eighth session
          7. Since the publication of the most recent report (E/CN.4/2002/73), 37 communications
          (including three urgent appeals addressed to China and Nigeria, respectively) have been sent
          to 24 States: Azerbaijan (2), Bangladesh, China (4), Egypt, Eritrea, Georgia (2), India (2),
          Indonesia (2), Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Jordan, Myanmar (2), Nigeria (2), Pakistan (4),
          Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia (3), Singapore, Sudan, Turkey,
          Turkmenistan, United States of America, Yugoslavia and Zimbabwe.
          8. The Special Rapporteur has received replies from seven States: Bangladesh, China,
          Georgia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Republic of Korea and Singapore.
          9. In accordance with his methods of work and the rules governing his mandate, the Special
          Rapporteur wishes to clarify that the communications sent within the past two months are not
          covered in the present report, since the time limit for answers from the States concerned has not
          expired, and, of course, when the State concerned has not replied.
          10. In order to avoid repeating information contained in previously distributed documents,
          the Special Rapporteur will confine himself to referring to the interim report submitted to the
          General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session (A/57/274). However, for replies received
          after 30 June 2002, a brief summary of the communication will be provided in some cases and
          ample extracts from the replies reproduced.
          11. The Special Rapporteur wishes to point out that the communications discussed below do
          not account for all incidents or governmental actions in all parts of the world inconsistent with
          the provisions of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of
          Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief
          Saudi Arabia
          12. For the communications sent and the replies received, see paragraphs 7 to 13 of the
          above-mentioned report.
          13. The Special Rapporteur has sent two communications to Azerbaijan. The first is
          summarized in paragraphs 14 to 16 of the above-mentioned report, together with the reply. The
          second relates to the following incidents.
          14. On 9 June 2002, an Adventist family, Pastor Vahid Nagiev, his wife and their
          four children were allegedly deported from Nakhichevan to Baku by a number of policemen,
          including the chief of police of Nakhichevan. The police produced no order in writing and
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 6
          allegedly accompanied their instructions with threats, claiming that the Adventists could be
          preparing terrorist actions against President Aliev, who was due to visit on 15 June. The family
          appealed to the State Committee for Relations with Religious Organizations in Baku in late
          July 2002, but reportedly has still not been allowed to return home. In September 2001, three of
          their children were allegedly barred from attending school on the grounds that they were
          Adventists and the family was allegedly threatened with deportation in October 2001.
          15. On 5 April 2002, a local policeman in the town of Chukhuryurd reportedly tried to
          prevent a small Baptist church from meeting.
          16. On 1 April 2002, Nina Koptseva, a Russian woman living in Baku by invitation of the
          Greater Grace Protestant Church, was reportedly forcibly deported from Azerbaijan after having
          allegedly been forced by the police to sign a confession that she had been distributing
          “religious propaganda”. Allegedly, the document was in Azeri, a language she does not
          understand. Ms. Koptseva was reportedly arrested in the street on 30 March 2002 along with
          Ms. Elnara Guseinova and Ms. Sevinge Nazirova, who are said to have been fined.
          17. With regard to the attacks on religious minorities following the October 2001 elections
          (paragraphs 17-20 of the above-mentioned report), the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh has
          replied, inter alia:
          “There were reports of sporadic post-election disturbances and in some of these incidents,
          minorities were affected. The Government initiated immediate action to stop the
          deterioration of the situation and to bring the perpetrators to justice. From 1 October
          to 31 December 2001, a total of 92 cases were filed and 23 of these cases were
          charge-sheeted. A total of 204 persons have been arrested. Six rape cases involving a
          minority community are currently under investigation. Strengthened security
          arrangements were made around the places of worship.
          With regard to the murder of Gopal Krishna Muhuri, a prominent member of the Hindu
          community, 16 persons were arrested and are being interrogated. One of the suspects
          made ajudicial confession implicating himself and others in the case.”
          The authorities also reiterated that protection and promotion of the rights of the minorities are
          constitutional commitments.
          18. Two of the three communications sent by the Special Rapporteur (including an urgent
          appeal sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on torture and China's reply to that urgent
          appeal) are summarized in paragraphs 21 to 28 of the above-mentioned report. The third
          communication deals with the following incidents.
          page 7
          19. On the night of 7 April 2002, the police allegedly picked up Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a
          well-known spiritual master, together with four of his followers, Tsultrim Dhargye,
          Tamdin Tsering, Asher Dhargye, and Thondup, from Rinpoche's monastery in Nyachu county,
          Karze Prefecture (Sichuan Province).
          20. By letter dated 14 November 2002, the Government replied, inter alia, that,
          on 20 August 2002, the procuratorial authorities had instituted criminal proceedings against
          Tenzin Delek Rinpoche with the Intermediate People's Court of the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous
          Prefecture for the crimes of fomenting separatism and causing an explosion and against
          defendant Phondup for the crimes of fomenting separatism, causing an explosion and the
          unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. These proceedings are under way. In
          May 2002, Tamdin Tsering, Asher Dhargye and Tsultrim Dhargye were condemned to
          one year's re-education through labour for their involvement in the same criminal case.
          Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Tamdin Tsering and the others were detained for questioning and
          received penalties strictly because they had violated, or were suspected of having violated, the
          law and these measures were in no way connected with their religion or beliefs.
          21. Several Buddhist institutes were allegedly destroyed in 2001 by order of the authorities,
          notably the one in Yachen, Payul, and the Serthar Buddhist Institute, which was attended
          by 10,000 students and where demolition, including demolition of 2,000 dwellings housing
          monks and nuns, allegedly started on 26 June 2001. Reportedly, more than 8,000 students were
          forcibly evicted. Only 1,000 monks and 400 nuns are said to have been allowed to stay. The
          Institute's founder, Jigme Phuntsok, was reportedly taken away by the authorities and placed
          under house arrest in Chengdu.
          22. In the past seven years, 19,000 monks and nuns are said to have been evicted from
          religious institutions and 24 such institutions have reportedly been closed. Moreover, of
          the 251 Tibetans still in prison, the majority are reportedly monks or nuns.
          23. The Chinese authorities replied that there are problems with buildings that contravene the
          regulations and that the establishments lack essential fire protection, hygiene and medical
          facilities and pose a serious hazard to the health and safety of the many monks and nuns. The
          Government has provided extensive support for reorganizing and refurbishing the Institute. No
          pressure was placed on any monk or nun to return to secular life nor was any monk or nun placed
          in detention. On the contrary, the State contributed a considerable amount of money to assist
          with the resettlement of those monks and nuns who wished to return to their villages and with the
          reconstruction of the Institute's buildings. In recent years, management of the Yachen
          monastery, a centre for propagating the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism, has deteriorated and
          it has become seriously overcrowded; the buildings lack any planning and the problem of
          unauthorized building has emerged; the surrounding area is dirty and untidy; and there are
          serious violations of relevant State laws and regulations, entailing serious threats to safety and
          health and endangering the lives of the monks, nuns and local people. In May 2001, the
          management committee of the Yachen monastery decided to reorganize and refurbish the
          monastery, putting in place regulations for its buildings and carrying out extensive repairs and
          renovations. With regard to Jigme Phuntsok, the local government has made arrangements for
          his medical treatment and his health condition is now greatly improved.
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 8
          24. The full text of the Chinese Government's reply is circulated as a separate document of
          the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on Human Rights.
          25. The communication sent by the Special Rapporteur and the Egyptian Government's reply
          are summarized in paragraphs 29 to 31 of the above-mentioned report.
          26. On 6 June 2002, churches other than Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Mekane Yesus
          (Lutheran) were reportedly closed down by decision of the Government. Among those already
          closed were allegedly two Buddhist temples and one Baha'i temple, as well as the Kale Hiwot
          church. The decision to close places of worship may be a reaction to pressure from the dominant
          Orthodox Church and/or outside Muslim forces within the context of the recent outbreak of
          evangelical fervour within the Protestant community. The Ministry of Information reportedly
          stated that from now on, Churches and other religious groups would not be allowed to function
          without being registered and their registration considered by a special government committee,
          which has allegedly not yet been set up.
          United States of America
          27. See paragraphs 32 to 34 of the above-mentioned report.
          28. The first of the communications sent to Georgia is summarized in paragraphs 35 and 36
          of the above-mentioned report. The second, to which Georgia replied on 19 August 2002,
          concerns the following incidents.
          29. Two Orthodox priests led a three-day attack on a Russian-language Pentecostal church in
          Tbilisi over the weekend of S to 7 July 2002. Reportedly, some hundred Pentecostals were
          present in the sanctuary, located on the ground floor of the Kalutsky family home, when a mob
          of 30 or 40 people burst in, beat people, frightened the children, stole Bibles, rummaged through
          people's bags and made many threats.
          30. Concerning this case, the Government replied that, on 5 July, two Orthodox priests went
          to the meeting of Pentecostals together with their congregations and did not allow the meeting to
          continue. The priests allegedly called upon the members of their flock not to abuse the
          participants physically, but to remove them from the hall. A similar incident occurred
          on 7 July 2002. According to N. Kalutski, no one was physically abused and no Bibles were
          stolen. Therefore, no complaint was lodged with law-enforcement bodies. The prosecutor's
          office has been instructed to verify whether the rights of the religious minority in question were
          abused and to make a decision regarding the institution of criminal proceedings.
          page 9
          31. In a separate incident, a group of Catholics, among them the Apostolic Administrator
          Bishop Giuseppe Pasotto, who were on a pilgrimage to the mainly Catholic village of Sanavardo,
          in the Kvareli region on 3 July 2002, were physically attacked by a group of people reportedly
          sent by two Orthodox priests, allegedly from the local diocese.
          32. In this regard, the Government replied that the pilgrims were stopped by an Orthodox
          priest, Besik Zurabashvili, who told them that they did not have the consent of the bishop. The
          group agreed and were assisted to Thilisi. No clashes took place, but activities are under way to
          identify the persons who accompanied the Orthodox priest.
          33. On 1 July 2002, police officers of the Gldani-Nadzaladevi district, Thilisi, reportedly
          burst into the home of a Jehovah's Witness, Guram Pachkhatashvili. They detained him and his
          son Gia on charges of throwing stones at the unfinished church in Gldani being built by
          Basil Mkalavishvili. On the way to the police station, the police allegedly led Pachkhatashvili
          and his son past the church, allowing Mkalavishvili to strike Gia Pachkhatashvili while a mob of
          his followers verbally abused the two. At the police station, Petre (Gia) Ivanidze reportedly
          punched Gia Pachkhatashvili in the neck, knocking him down. He then proceeded to assault
          Guram Pachkhatashvili while the police allegedly looked on. The police are also said to have
          tried to pressure the two Jehovah's Witnesses into signing confessions.
          34. The Government replied that these allegations have not been confirmed.
          35. On 28 June 2002, arsonists reportedly attempted to set fire to a home in the Gori region
          used for Jehovah's Witnesses conventions. This incident reportedly occurred after the governor
          of Gori region, David Koblianidze, visited the site on 16 June 2002 and threats were made that
          any convention would be viewed as illegal.
          36. The Government replied that, on 16 June 2002, Jehovah's Witnesses held a congress in
          the village of Ortasheni. The governor and the chief of the local police went to the venue and
          explained to the participants that they had no right to hold such a meeting, but no conflict took
          37. So far, it has not been established who set the fire. The investigative unit of the
          Shida Kartli police department is conducting an inquest in this connection.
          38. On 18 June 2002, Justice Nino Jvenitadze of the Supreme Court reportedly upheld a trial
          court's decision not to open a criminal case over a September 2001 attack by a “religious
          extremist” in the town of Kutaisi against two Jehovah's Witnesses, Manuchar Gaprindashvili and
          Jemal Margvelani. It has also been reported that, when they took their complaint to the nearest
          police station, the two Jehovah's Witnesses were verbally and physically assaulted by a
          policeman, Temur Kvirikashvili.
          39. The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank Georgia for its reply. He is still awaiting replies
          to the communications transmitted in connection with his previous reports, however, in
          particular those relating to attacks on Jehovah's Witnesses by religious extremists.
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 10
          40. The first communication sent to India this year, and the Indian Government's reply, are
          summarized in paragraphs 37 and 38 of the above-mentioned report. The second deals with the
          following events.
          41. On 5 May 2002, at least 14 people were reportedly killed and 45 wounded in clashes
          between Hindus and Muslims in the latest wave of violence in Gujarat State, which allegedly
          started in Abmedabad when Hindus objected to the return of Muslims to their homes from a
          refugee camp. At least 20 shops and many more houses were reportedly set on fire by a mob of
          more than 2,000 people in the Bebrampura area of Abmedabad, where Hindus and Muslims live
          in close proximity.
          42. The first communication sent by the Special Rapporteur is summarized in paragraph 39
          of the above-mentioned report. The second deals with the following incidents.
          43. On 28 April 2002, two days after Jafar Umar Thalib, the leader of the Laskar Jihad,
          allegedly called for violence against Christians during his sermon at the Al Fatah mosque, at
          least 12 people, including a 9-month-old baby, were killed and 11 injured in the Christian village
          of Soya on the outskirts of Ambon in the Moluccas. The attackers, who reportedly wore black
          uniforms or Indonesian military uniforms, allegedly set 30 houses on fire and went from house to
          house, stabbing and shooting those inside. The victims reportedly included the following
          persons: Ado Mustamu; Nike Mustamu; Mrs. Souhoka/Pattileuw; Agnes Monika Souhora;
          Idi Patty; Lanny Hitijahubessy; Hem Patty; Lidya Patty; Liberth Rehatta; Grace Mustamu;
          Ronald Patiplau; Ances Pesulima; Apne Pesulima; Felix Pesulima; Elska Pesulima;
          Michael Mustamu.
          44. On 25 April 2002, the biggest Protestant church, the Silo church, which was being
          rebuilt, was reportedly burned during a demonstration allegedly led by the Laskar Jihad
          organization. Another attack against the church was allegedly carried out on 28 April 2002.
          45. By letter dated 28 June 2002, the Government replied, inter alia, that it had repeatedly
          condemned the acts of violence which have been committed in the Moluccas over the past three
          years and have resulted in the deaths of innocent people and the destruction of the region's
          infrastructure. The Government of Indonesia is committed to identifying and bringing to justice
          the perpetrators of this terrible crime and to taking comprehensive measures, whether in a
          political, cultural, social or religious context.
          46. Following the attack in Soya, the President of Indonesia, the Vice-President and the
          Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs decided to instruct the local authorities
          to fully investigate the attack and to take tough action against those involved. Police arrested the
          leaders of both Laskar Jihad and the Maluku Sovereignty Forum (FKM), the two groups believed
          to be responsible for the worsening situation in the Moluccas. Jafar Umar Thalib, leader of
          Laskar Jihad, was arrested on 4 May 2002 and charged with violating articles 134, 136, 154
          and 160 of the Criminal Code, slandering the President and the Vice-President, spreading enmity
          page 11
          against the Government and inciting people to violence. Meanwhile, the leader of the FKM,
          Alex Manuputty, was apprehended on 17 March 2002 on the basis of preliminary evidence
          gathered by police and military investigators and charged with breaching article 106 of the
          Criminal Code, on treason. The legal process is currently under way and both men are being
          detained at the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta. A government instruction was issued
          ordering the dissolution of FKM and the expulsion of reputed troublemakers, including
          Laskar Jihad, from the province of Maluku. The directive, which came into effect
          on 8 May 2002, also mandates door-to-door raids to be carried out by security personnel
          deployed in the region in an effort to disarm militias and their supporters, as well as investigation
          of all violations of the law perpetrated during the three years of fighting. On 6 May 2002,
          President Megawati Soekarnoputri issued a decree stipulating the establishment of an
          independent team to ensure an impartial investigation into the three-year sectarian conflict in the
          47. The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank Indonesia for its precise and detailed reply and
          for any further information it may provide on measures taken or envisaged to prevent religious
          Iran (Islamic Republic of)
          48. On 11 July 2001, Maryam Ayoubi, a 30-year-old woman, was reportedly stoned to death
          at Evin prison in Tebran because she had reportedly been found guilty, under Shariah law, of
          adultery and murdering her husband.
          49. On 24 June 2001, a woman identified only as Robabeh was reportedly sentenced
          to 50 lashes, to be followed by death by stoning, for adultery. Her unnamed male accomplice
          was reportedly sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging.
          50. During the first week of May 2001, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), alleging security
          reasons and without notification, broke into the convent of the Armenian Patriarchate's property
          at Baron Der in Bethlehem, which serves as a residence for Armenian monks who officiate in the
          church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and is used for retreats and spiritual training.
          51. Notwithstanding the complaint lodged by the Armenian Patriarchate and various attempts
          to settle the dispute, the Ministry of the Interior reportedly issued a six-month seizure order in
          respect of the property, damage was caused inside and outside the property and the convent and
          the perimeter wall was allegedly destroyed in order to open a military road.
          52. On 22 June 2002, an order was reportedly issued through the chief commander for the
          West Bank, General Itshaq Eitan, and the Head of the Israeli Ministry of Defence to build a
          security fence separating the Palestinian town of Bethlehem from Jerusalem.
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 12
          53. The Special Rapporteur has been informed that Siham Suleiman Moussa Qandah, a
          Christian mother of two, was deprived of custody of her children on the grounds that her
          husband had converted to Islam before his death and that, since her children had therefore
          automatically also become Muslims, they should be placed in the care of her brother, who had
          converted to Islam several years previously. Ms. Qandah reportedly applied to the Irbid court of
          first instance and then to the Appeals Court; on 22 January 2002, the Appeals Court upheld the
          lower court's ruling that Ms. Qandah had proved herself unfit to be the guardian of her children
          by distancing them from Islamic rituals and doctrine. On 28 February 2002, the Supreme Court
          likewise rejected her appeal and authorized the children's transfer to the brother's home.
          Ms. Qandah and her two children, Rawan Hussam Rasmi Jibreen and Fadi Hussam
          Rasmi Jibreen, are said to have been living in hiding since then.
          54. The first communication sent to Myanmar is summarized in paragraph 40 of the
          above-mentioned report. The second concerns the following incidents.
          55. Two prominent Christian leaders from Dagon North township, Rev. That Ci and his
          son-in-law, Rev. Lian Za Dal, were reportedly arrested on 5 April 2002 and transferred to Insein
          prison, where they are said to be still detained. Allegedly warned to stop proselytizing, holding
          church services and constructing a church, they were reportedly arrested, along with eight
          members of their family, for having allegedly failed to register house guests when his daughter
          and son-in-law came to spend the night at his house.
          56. The Special Rapporteur wishes to recall that, in its resolution 2002/67, the Commission
          on Human Rights deplored, inter alia, the restrictions on the exercise of freedom of religion, such
          as the restriction on the building of new mosques and churches and forced conversions, notably
          of Muslims in Rakhine State and Christians in Chin State, and the discrimination against children
          belonging to ethnic and religious minorities.
          57. See paragraphs 41 to 44 of the above-mentioned report.
          58. Three of the four communications sent this year to Pakistan are mentioned in
          paragraphs 45 to 49 of the above-mentioned report.
          59. In the week of ito 7 July 2002, a mentally disturbed man, Zahid Mahmood Akhtar, was
          reportedly stoned to death in the village of Chak Jumra by hundreds of villagers after the cleric
          allegedly used a megaphone to issue a fatwa ordering his execution. Detained in 1994 on
          charges of blasphemy and released three years later on the grounds that he was mentally ill, the
          man had allegedly claimed to be the “last prophet of Islam”.
          page 13
          60. On 11 June 2002, Mohammed YousafAli, a 55-year-old Muslim cleric convicted of
          blasphemy, was reportedly shot dead in the Kot Lakhpat Central Jail in Lahore by another
          prisoner, allegedly a member of Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP).
          61. Allegedly, Mr. YousafAli's murder is not an isolated case and fears have been expressed
          that prisoners held on blasphemy and other religious charges could suffer the same fate. It has
          been reported that, in 2001 alone, at least 40 Muslims, 23 Ahmadis, 10 Christians and 2 Hindus
          were charged with blasphemy.
          62. On 7 April 2002, a Presbyterian church in Satrah village, near Gujranwala district, was
          reportedly attacked by a group of Islamic extremists composed of seven youths aged between 14
          and 25, armed with automatic weapons. Despite repeated requests from the Christian
          community, the local police and the Senior Superintendent were allegedly reluctant to file a first
          incident report.
          63. In 2002, Lahore High Court Justice Nasara Javeed Iqbal reportedly ruled that 14-year-old
          Naira Nadia Masih, who was allegedly kidnapped, gang-raped by Muslim militants and forcibly
          converted to Islam, had voluntarily married one of her aggressors, Maqsood Ahmed Shiekh,
          despite concrete evidence proving that she was under age and therefore unable to marry or
          convert to another faith without parental consent. At the initial hearing, the district judge had
          reportedly nullified the marriage on the basis that, as a minor, the girl was unable to marry
          without the consent of her parents.
          64. With regard to the communication concerning the attack carried out on 26 February 2002
          in a Shi'ite mosque in Shah-Najam, Rawalpindi, during which 11 worshippers were killed
          and 14 others seriously wounded (above-mentioned report, paragraph 47), the Government of
          Pakistan sent the following reply to the Special Rapporteur on 7 October 2002: “The district
          police has nabbed the culprits in this case and they are on judicial remand. The case is under
          trial in the Anti-Terrorist Court No. 1 Rawalpindi and will be decided on completion of
          Republic of Korea
          65. Conscientious objectors have allegedly been routinely sentenced by military courts to
          three-year terms of imprisonment based on article 44 of the Military Penal Code and, more
          recently, by civil courts under provisions of the Military Service Act. As of December 2001,
          1,640 conscientious objectors, most of them Jehovah's Witnesses and some of them members of
          the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, are said to be serving their sentences in national prisons.
          They are said not to be permitted any religious activity, allegedly because they objected to
          military service on grounds of religious belief
          66. By letter dated 20 June 2002, the Government replied, inter alia, that a compulsory
          military service system was in accordance with its Constitution and relevant laws and that
          persons who fail to discharge the duty of military service shall be subject to criminal
          punishment. The Government considers the duty of national defence as constituting a valid
          limitation on the exercise of fundamental rights such as the right to freedom of conscience and
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 14
          manifestation of religious beliefs. National consensus on introducing an alternative system of
          military service has not yet been reached, but a debate on the issue of providing alternate military
          services has recently begun. In addition, the Constitutional Court is considering a petition
          submitted by a lower court on the constitutionality of subjecting conscientious objectors to
          imprisonment without providing for alternative forms of service. It is therefore expected that the
          outcome of the domestic debate and the Constitutional Court's decision will form a political and
          legal basis for future action by the Government on the issue.
          67. According to the Government, as of December 2001, 1,534 conscientious objectors, most
          of them Jehovah's Witnesses, were serving their sentences in prisons and 106 were on trial.
          Certain religious activities are subject to limitations for the purpose of maintaining security and
          internal order in prisons and formal religious services on a regular basis may not be available in
          some facilities. However, there is no evidence to support the allegation that Jehovah's Witnesses
          serving prison terms are prohibited from any religious activity because they objected to military
          service on grounds of religious beliefs.
          68. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Republic of Korea for its reply. He nevertheless
          recalls that according to its General Comment No. 22, the Human Rights Committee believes
          that the right to conscientious objection can be derived from article 18 of the International
          Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, inasmuch as the obligation to use lethal force may
          seriously conflict with the freedom of conscience and the right to manifest one's religion or
          Republic of Moldova
          69. See paragraphs 50 and 51 of the above-mentioned report.
          70. Since March 2002, the Golden Lotus Theatre, a Taiwanese Buddhist group which
          presents religious performances in several countries, has allegedly been harassed by an officer of
          the Ministry of Home Affairs, Lin Tong Lee, and a high-ranking officer, Goh Wee Liam. This
          campaign of harassment was reportedly due to the fact that the Buddhist Federation and the
          Kong Meng Suan Buddhist Temple of Singapore labelled the Golden Lotus Theatre an
          unorthodox sect, which then is said to have allowed Singapore officers to link it with terrorists.
          On 22 May 2002, members of the Golden Lotus Theatre reportedly filed a complaint with the
          Singapore police, but the police allegedly refused to look into the matter. The group was also
          reportedly threatened with arrest or death in order to dissuade them when they went to submit the
          complaint at the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs.
          71. On 28 August 2002, the Government sent the following reply:
          “The Singapore Buddhist Federation and the Kong Meng San Buddhist Temple are not
          known to have labelled the Golden Lotus Theatre a ‘cult'. Neither have the authorities
          linked the Golden Lotus Theatre to terrorists at any point in time. A report was lodged
          on 22 May by a female Chinese, but one month after the complainant contacted the
          page 15
          police to withdraw her report, stating that she was made use of by her foreign friends to
          lodge the report. The two persons are not employed by the Ministry of Home Affairs or
          any of its departments. Maintenance of religious harmony and advocacy of religious
          tolerance are key priorities of the Singapore Government.”
          72. Alla al Din Omer Agabna, from the town of Hashiesa in Gezira, has reportedly been
          subjected to continuous harassment and periodic arrests since his conversion in 1991 from Islam
          to Christianity. Having decided to travel to Kenya, he was reportedly stopped in the departure
          hall and informed that he was registered as a criminal and could not travel. Informed that the
          travel ban had been lifted, he went back to the airport later, but was allegedly stopped again at
          the security desk and questioned by security officers, who reportedly beat him and confiscated
          his passport, as well as USS 200 and 1,300 dinars. He is reported to be in hiding and concerns
          have been expressed about his safety and that of his family, who are said to be under
          73. The Special Rapporteur wishes to recall that, in its resolution 2002/16, the Commission
          requested the Government of the Sudan to ensure full respect for freedom of religion.
          74. See paragraphs 55 and 56 of the above-mentioned report.
          75. See paragraphs 52 to 54 of the above-mentioned report.
          76. A Catholic parish office in Sremska Mitrovica, west of Belgrade, was reportedly attacked
          during the night of 8 to 9 March 2002. In February, there were reportedly repeated attacks on
          Roman Catholic priests and Church property in Srem.
          77. In the week of 27 February to 2 March 2002, the Seventh-Day Adventist church in
          Belgrade allegedly suffered several broken windows, while, on 4 March 2002, a group of young
          people reportedly verbally abused Adventists and tried to prevent them leaving their church after
          a service.
          78. One night that same week, in the town of Nova Pazova, the Adventist, Methodist and
          Nazarene churches allegedly suffered broken windows and had graffiti labelling them as “sects”
          written on their walls.
          79. The communication sent to Zimbabwe and the Government's reply are described in
          paragraphs 57 and 58 of the above-mentioned report.
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 16
          B. Late replies and additional information
          80. By a letter dated 29 October 2002, the Indian Government replied to a communication
          of 9 March 2001 (A156/253, para. 42) concerning the refusal by the State of Karnataka to renew
          the residence permit of a French missionary, Fr. François-Marie Godest, who had worked in
          India among the poor since the age of 24. The reply is as follows: “The Government of India
          had earlier directed the State of Karnataka to keep Leave India Notice in respect of Father
          François-Marie Godest in abeyance. Father Godest was finally granted permission to stay in
          India till 19 December 2005 after withdrawing Leave India Notice.”
          81. In response to a communication sent on 15 February 2001 (A156/253, para. 40)
          concerning the arrest of an editor, TV. Ramana Murty, for offending the religious sentiments of
          Muslims and incitement to animosity among religious groups, India transmitted the following
          reply to the Special Rapporteur on 19 July 2002:
          “The Government of Andhra Pradesh has reported that, on 14 December 2000, it received
          reliable information that objectionable articles had been published in the monthly
          magazine VzIaya Viharani for the month of December 2000. A case was registered
          against Mr. T.V. Ramana Murthy, editor and owner of the magazine, and his brother,
          Mr. T. Narasimha Murthy, coordinator of the magazine, who absconded following a
          police raid. The accused later filed for, and obtained, anticipatory bail. The High
          Court also issued directions to the police to release the printing press, computers,
          furniture, etc., belonging to Mr. T.V. Ramana Murthy. The charge sheet in this case was
          filed on 20 July 2001 and the case is pending trial.”
          82. By a letter dated 15 August 2002, the Permanent Mission of Pakistan informed the
          Special Rapporteur of the Supreme Court decision, dated 15 August 2002, to acquit Ayub Masih,
          on whose behalf the Special Rapporteur had sent a communication (E/CN.4/2002/73, para. 100)
          relating to blasphemy charges.
          83. The Special Rapporteur thanks Pakistan and welcomes the decision. He nevertheless
          remains concerned at the fact that death sentences continue to be handed down for apostasy, as
          shown by the communications sent to Pakistan and mentioned in the present report.
          C. In situ visits and their follow-up
          84. The Special Rapporteur considers that in situ visits are an essential element of his
          mandate, insofar as they facilitate dialogue and understanding and a balanced consideration of
          the complexities of the situation of freedom of religion or belief in a particular country.
          page 17
          85. The traditional visits have been supplemented by a new form of visit, to the principal
          communities of religion and belief The Special Rapporteur began in 1999 with a visit to the
          Vatican and will continue in order to establish direct dialogue on the Declaration on the
          Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief and
          to find solutions to the problems of intolerance and discrimination that may arise in this area.
          86. Since his appointment in 1993, the Special Rapporteur has undertaken 14 in situ visits, to
          the following countries: China (1994); Pakistan (1995); Islamic Republic of Iran (1995); Greece
          (1996); Sudan (1996); hidia (1996); Australia (1997); Germany (1997); United States of
          America (1998); Viet Nam (1998); Turkey (1999); Bangladesh (2000); and Argentina (2001).
          87. The Special Rapporteur visited Algeria from 16 to 26 September 2002 at the invitation of
          the Algerian Government. The report on this mission, the first to Algeria by a Special
          Rapporteur, is contained in the addendum to the present report (E/CN.4/2003/66/Add. 1).
          88. During 2002, the Special Rapporteur requested invitations to visit Georgia and Romania,
          both of which have issued general invitations to all the Commission's thematic mechanisms. In
          the case of Georgia, the Special Rapporteur has been given verbal notification that the
          Government is prepared to receive him. The dates when such a visit could take place will be
          determined in the very near future in cooperation with Georgia. The Special Rapporteur also
          received an invitation, on 9 August 2002, from the Iraqi Government to visit Iraq.
          89. To date, only Indonesia and the Russian Federation have replied to the reminders the
          Special Rapporteur sent in July 2002 to those States that had not responded to requests for visits.
          By a letter of 7 August 2002, the Government of the Russian Federation assured the Special
          Rapporteur of its full support for his work and indicated that the question of an invitation to visit
          would be considered in early 2003. hi a letter dated 13 August 2002, hidonesia informed the
          Special Rapporteur that such a visit was not considered timely this year in view of visits by other
          human rights mechanisms to the country.
          90. The Special Rapporteur thanks Indonesia and the Russian Federation and invites those
          countries that have not replied, namely, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Israel and
          Nigeria, to improve their cooperation in order to enable him to discharge his mandate fully.
          91. Since assuming his duties, the Special Rapporteur has attached the greatest importance to
          the prevention of intolerance and discrimination in the area of religion or belief To that end, he
          has conducted research and formulated proposals in order to make it possible to deal not only
          with manifestations of intolerance and discrimination, but also with their true causes.
          92. In order to gain an understanding of the specificities and similarities of these complex
          and sensitive issues and to obtain an overview of intolerance and discrimination based on
          religion or belief, the Special Rapporteur has undertaken several studies, four of which were
          submitted as part of the preparatory processes for the Durban Conference and the Madrid
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 18
          A. Freedom of religion or belief in the post-li September 2001 context
          93. In the report he submitted to the Commission at its fifty-eighth session, the
          Special Rapporteur expressed very grave concern at the implications that the terrorist acts
          of 11 September 2001 might have for the human rights protection system in general and for
          freedom of religion or belief in particular.
          94. He also voiced his fears about a rise of Islamophobia among public opinion in the
          West and, conversely, of feelings of coolness and mistrust towards the West, particularly the
          United States, in the Arab and Muslim world.
          95. It is an unavoidable fact that the hyperbole and the implicit and explicit calls for a clash
          of cultures or civilizations heard at the time have continued without let-up, with indiscriminate
          abuse heaped on entire communities and religions.
          96. This issue has acquired a particular immediacy as a result of the simplistic - and all too
          frequent - identification of the Muslim faith with religious extremism. Political leaders and the
          media continue to dwell on religious identity, using language that encourages the very
          generalizations they purport to avoid. Books have appeared whose purpose is to lend credence
          to the idea of a war of religion, describing Muslims as sympathizers with, or even parties to,
          Islamic terrorism, inciting hatred and presenting Islam as a dangerous and archaic religion, in
          clear violation of, inter alia, article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
          97. The expression “holy war” has been regularly brandied about in the media in the
          crudest fashion and the haphazard use of the terms “Islam”, “fanaticism”, “terrorism”,
          “fundamentalism”, “integrationism” and “Islamism”, as if they are interchangeable, has only
          added to the confusion, arousing anti-Muslim racism that could easily spread through a
          bewildered and fearful populace.
          98. Generalizations such as these are the product of a combination of intellectual error and
          moral dishonesty, in the sense that they gloss over the fact that the Muslim world comprises a
          billion people and dozens of countries, societies, traditions, languages and, naturally, an infinite
          number of different experiences.
          99. At the same time, the fact that Islam's highest authorities have unreservedly condemned
          the attacks and all forms of violence perpetrated in the name of religion has received scant
          attention, like the efforts made by the same authorities to explain Islam and dispel
          100. In this climate of widespread and at times, deliberately cultivated, mistrust - one might
          even say suspicion - acts of intolerance and discrimination have continued to be committed
          against Muslims or those assumed to be Muslims.
          page 19
          101. On 23 May 2002, the European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia
          published a report entitled “Islamophobia in the EU after 11 September 2001”, which consisted
          of 15 country reports based on enquiries conducted by the European Racism and Xenophobia
          Information Network (RAXEN). The report describes an alarming upsurge in hostility and an
          increase in verbal and physical assaults on Muslims, both as a group and individually, in
          European Union States. The country reports describe not only repeated attacks on Muslims and
          on anything symbolizing or personifying Islam, but also acts of vandalism in synagogues and
          verbal and physical attacks on Jews, in parallel with the renewed crisis in the Middle East.
          102. At the same time, the world has veered dangerously in the direction of what is depicted as
          unavoidable war and repression, a path that will lead to increasingly violent confrontation, which
          can only foster and fuel both terrorism and terror, deepen prejudice and stir up violence.
          103. Non-governmental organizations (NOOs) and international authorities continue to
          express grave concern at the “total security” drive being implemented under cover of
          anti-terrorist laws, arsenals of legislation designed to restrict immigration and selective measures
          that have a direct and immediate impact on the entire human rights protection system.
          104. At such a time of unprecedented international tension, when it seems possible to justify
          anything by the war on terrorism, it is not surprising that initiatives such as that of the League of
          Arab States, which met in Cairo on 26 and 27 September 2002 to discuss ways of correcting the
          negative image of Arabs in the West following the 11 September attacks and which rejected the
          use of language accusing others of irreligiosity, have not received the attention they deserve.
          B. Follow-up of the International Consultative Conference on School
          Education in relation to Freedom of Religion and Belief,
          Tolerance and Non-Discrimination
          105. The Special Rapporteur has always stressed the need for younger generations to be
          shielded from the hatred, intolerance and discrimination that are fuelled by ignorance and
          incomprehension and stoked by simplistic clichés and crude stereotypes.
          106. Believing that the preparation and adoption of a prevention strategy should make it
          possible, in the long-term to put an end to violations of freedom of religion or belief, the Special
          Rapporteur, on the basis of Commission on Human Rights resolution 1994/18, which
          encouraged him to examine the contribution that education can make to the promotion of
          religious tolerance, conducted an enquiry in 1994, in the form of a questionnaire to States on
          school syllabuses that deal with freedom of religion in primary or elementary and secondary
          107. Based on the replies to this questionnaire from 78 States, a study entitled “Racial
          discrimination, religious intolerance and education” (AICONF. 1 89/PC.2/22) was submitted to
          the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the Durban Conference. The Special
          Rapporteur then launched consultations in order to benefit from the experience of various
          international, regional and national, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations
          and decided that there was a need for an international consultative conference on school
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 20
          education in relation to freedom of religion or belief Such a conference took place in Madrid
          from 23 to 25 November 2001, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of
          the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on
          Religion or Belief The records of the Conference were published by the Spanish Government in
          a volume entitled “La libertad religiosa y la educacion escolar”, which is an extremely useful
          tool and research aid. It includes, among other things, the conference documents and the
          statements made by States and by the representatives of United Nations human rights
          mechanisms, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, communities of religion or
          belief, national commissions for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
          Organization (UNESCO), human rights institutes and experts. It also describes the development
          of the various drafts leading up to the adoption of the final document of the Madrid Conference
          and discusses the relevant texts on education for tolerance and non-discrimination in the area of
          religion or belief By making this book available to all, in particular States, NGOs and
          researchers, the Spanish Government has made an important contribution to efforts to eliminate
          all forms of intolerance and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief
          108. In his report to the Commission at its fifty-eighth session, the Special Rapporteur gave an
          account of the preparations for, the holding of and the outcome of the Madrid Conference, at the
          end of which a final document was adopted by consensus. This document, which recommends
          both general and more targeted measures and calls for contributions from States and all social
          actors, should provide a framework for actions aimed at making schools places for learning
          peace, understanding and tolerance among individuals, groups and nations, as a means of
          developing respect for diversity.
          109. In the current context, where groups tend to be on the defensive, eager to proclaim their
          identity, to chase out the intruder and to exclude the outsider, the cause of dissension, there is an
          increasingly urgent need to educate responsible citizens - that is to say, discerning citizens
          capable of making balanced judgements - if the cracks appearing between civilizations today are
          not to become the trenches of war tomorrow.
          110. The Special Rapporteur has taken various other initiatives in follow-up to the Madrid
          Conference, involving States, human rights institutes, NGOs and communities of religion, as
          well as United Nations treaty monitoring bodies and special rapporteurs with a particular interest
          in the prevention of intolerance and discrimination, with whom he has explored ways of paying
          greater attention to the prevention aspect. In this connection, he believes there should be close
          links between, inter alia, his own mandate and that of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary
          forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
          111. Various meetings organized by NGOs have also enabled debate to take place on ways of
          ensuring the dissemination of the Madrid Conference final document and the implementation of
          its recommendations. The Special Rapporteur dealt at some length with the issue of the
          prevention of all forms of discrimination and intolerance on the basis of religion or belief at the
          Fifth World Congress of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), which was held
          in Manila from 10 to 13 June 2002 and which devoted a special meeting to the question
          of education for tolerance and the follow-up to the Madrid Conference; and at the
          thirty-first Congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF), which was
          held in Budapest from 28 July to 2 August 2002.
          page 21
          112. At a strategy development seminar held in Oslo from 8 to 10 December 2002 and
          organized by the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, participants considered ways
          of setting up an international interdisciplinary network to facilitate the implementation of the
          aims and follow-up of the recommendations of the Madrid Conference. To that end, the seminar
          brought together experts in the areas of human rights, interreligious dialogue and ethical and
          religious education who looked at various national models of religious education. The Seminar
          was also part of the preparation for the international and interdisciplinary conference of experts
          which is to be held in late 2003 or early 2004 and will aim at encouraging the development of
          models for religious and ethical education that increase knowledge and understanding between
          people with different beliefs.
          113. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the initiatives taken by the Madrid Conference
          partners and extends particular thanks to NGOs for their work in organizing conferences,
          sending out books and other relevant documentation and sharing their expertise in education in
          relation to freedom of religion or belief He also pays special tribute to the efforts of human
          rights institutes and, in particular, the Arab Institute of Human Rights, which organizes
          initiatives in education for tolerance and non-discrimination on the basis of religion or belief
          114. The Special Rapporteur will continue to take whatever initiative or action is necessary to
          shield schools throughout the world from intolerance and discrimination on the basis of religion
          or belief and from all forms of indoctrination into religious or pseudo-religious attitudes, so that
          schools can become conduits of knowledge, respect and tolerance for others in the interests of
          human rights and thus of international understanding and cooperation in the service of peace.
          C. Interreligious dialogue
          115. In its resolution 2002/40, the Commission on Human Rights invites Governments,
          religious bodies and civil society to continue to undertake dialogue at all levels to promote
          greater tolerance, respect and understanding of freedom of religion and belief
          116. It has always been a concern of the Special Rapporteur to encourage interreligious
          dialogue and he has made specific recommendations in that regard during his in situ visits, both
          traditional missions and visits to the principal communities of religion or belief The Special
          Rapporteur has also addressed the question of interreligious dialogue not only as part of his
          general reports, but also during the Madrid Conference.
          117. Interfaith dialogue is a pillar of prevention in the area of religion and belief, for the area
          of religion has the potential to become an unparalleled forum in which individuals and groups
          can open up and come together.
          118. It is self-evident that cultures and religions are different. There is no justification,
          however, for saying that, because they are different, they are not equal. And yet there have
          always been people who have tried to prove that their culture, their religion, their language or
          their history is superior to that of their neighbours. Is there anything that people have not done,
          throughout history, “in the name of God”, and that they are still doing today, nearly everywhere
          in the world?
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 22
          119. Religions nevertheless share many moral values and this could and should make it
          possible for them to come together. For while the practice of religion may take very diverse
          forms, it is still inspired by universal values. As former United Nations Secretary-General
          Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said, “Human rights, when viewed from a universal perspective, force
          us to face the most demanding of all dialectics: the dialectics of identity and otherness, of ‘self
          and ‘other'. They teach us, in the most direct way, that we are, at one and the same time, the
          same and different.”
          120. It is also important to highlight the need for intrafaith dialogue: if they are to contribute
          to peace, religions should give some thought to how they handle manifestations of their own
          internal diversity, as part of a genuine culture of pluralism.
          121. The Special Rapporteur has always stressed the importance of the many initiatives taken
          by the leaders of the great religions to come together and work for peace, one example being the
          Millennium World Peace Summit (A156/253, para. 126). He has also described UNESCO's
          work during 2001, proclaimed United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations.
          122. These initiatives provide a ray of hope in the face of increasing extremism: they are
          models of behaviour, object lessons for the world in concord and dialogue and the more
          irreconcilable the differences appear, the clearer such lessons need to be.
          123. Religious officials from around the world met once again this year to attempt to improve
          understanding between religions.
          124. An interfaith summit of the three great monotheistic religions was held in Alexandria,
          Egypt, from 20 to 22 January 2002. This was the first such meeting in the Middle East to try to
          inject expressions of peace into the Israel-Palestinian conflict and it resulted in the religious
          leaders' signing ajoint declaration calling on all to oppose incitement, hatred and
          misrepresentation of the other, to refrain from demonization and to educate present generations
          in a spirit of mutual respect and trust.
          125. On 24 January 2002, 200 of the most senior of the world's religious leaders met in Assisi,
          Italy, at the invitation of Pope John Paul II and, at the end of the meeting, signed a joint
          commitment to peace.
          126. An Interfaith Peace Summit in Africa, convened in Johannesburg between 14
          and 19 October 2002 by the Lutheran World Federation, brought together religious
          representatives from 21 African countries. The participants made a solemn commitment, in a
          declaration adopted by consensus, to work to bring about peace and forestall violent conflict
          through genuine interfaith dialogue and to work for interreligious understanding by, among other
          things, supporting initiatives for peace in Africa and promoting respect for human rights, in
          particular religious freedom, in order to eliminate the culture of violence, hatred and prejudice.
          The declaration was accompanied by a plan of action.
          page 23
          127. This is a particularly important initiative, because African religious leaders have
          repeatedly shown that their contribution to dialogue can greatly facilitate peace processes; one
          example of this was the efforts made by Eritrean and Ethiopian religious leaders to put an end to
          the border conflict that had brought their countries into conflict for more than two years.
          128. Other measures, more modest but no less noteworthy, include Malian imams'
          commitment, in August 2002, to combat AIDS, in the conviction that the mosque should also
          provide a focus for the protection of life. Such involvement on the part of religious leaders is
          particularly important, since Islam, Mali's majority religion by far, had until then been
          considered - wrongly - to be obstructing the fight against AIDS.
          129. An examination of the communications under the Declaration on the Elimination of
          All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief reveals
          violations of the principles of non-discrimination and tolerance in the area of religion or
          belief, of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, of freedom to manifest one's
          religion or belief and of freedom to dispose of religious property.
          130. This analysis once again shows an overall rise in intolerance and discrimination
          against religious minorities and women in situations of extreme risk and an increase in
          religious extremism affecting all religions.
          131. Religious minorities are affected primarily by the threat to their very existence as
          special communities, as exemplified by the deportation of Adventists and Protestants in
          Azerbaijan; the campaigns of repression against members of Falun Gong, the arrest,
          imprisonment and expulsion of Tibetan monks and nuns from monasteries and the
          sentencing of Christians to death in China; the harassment of Christians in Myanmar; the
          sentencing to death of members of the Ismaii community in Saudi Arabia; and the arrest
          of Protestants and Adventists in Turkmenistan.
          132. Religious minorities are also subject to direct and indirect limitations on the
          manifestation of their religious identity or belief, as shown by the destruction of Tibetan
          Buddhist places of worship and the expulsion of nuns and monks from monasteries in
          China; the occupation and partial destruction of a property belonging to the Armenian
          Patriarchate in Israel; the closure of places of worship of religious minorities in Eritrea;
          threats to close Baptist places of worship in the Republic of Moldova and those of the
          Protestant communities in Turkey; and the prevention or non-recognition of conscientious
          objection, leading to the imprisonment of Jehovah's Witnesses, in the Republic of Korea.
          133. Intolerance of religious minorities is often practised by non-State entities, mainly
          religious communities and extremist political and religious organizations. This is the case
          in the repeated violent attacks by Orthodox extremists on Jehovah's Witnesses,
          Pentecostals and Catholics in Georgia; attacks on Muslims by Hindu extremists in India;
          and attacks by Muslim extremists on religious minorities in Bangladesh, Indonesia and
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 24
          Pakistan. It is also the case in the violence against Coptic Christians and their places of
          worship in Egypt and in the attacks on Catholic, Adventist, Methodist and Nazarene
          churches in Yugoslavia.
          134. An examination of these communications also reveals the very worrying and
          sometimes tragic situation of women. The communications covered in the present
          report refer to extreme situations and cases of women being sentenced to stoning for
          pseudo-religious reasons, notably in Nigeria.
          135. More generally, it may be seen from these communications that there is not always a
          clear distinction between racial and religious categories. Many minorities, and even major
          human communities, identify themselves in both racial and religious terms and, in many
          cases, the division between race and religion is by no means watertight. Indeed,
          discrimination is often aggravated where multiple identities are involved.
          136. The communications also show a precipitous rise in religious extremism, genuine or
          otherwise. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur wishes to recall that intra- and
          interreligious extremism is a problem that affects not one society or religion in particular,
          but, in varying degrees, all religions. It is clear from the communications sent, especially
          those to Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Pakistan, that the main victims of inter- and
          intrareligious extremism are minorities, on the one hand, and women on the other.
          However, aside from such vulnerable groups, all sectors of society are affected by religious
          137. Since 1993, the Special Rapporteur has constantly underlined the dangers posed by
          religious extremism to international peace in general and the human rights protection
          system in particular. He has frequently called for the establishment of common rules and
          principles to deal with the problem. However, his repeated warnings of the need to combat
          religious extremism and the exploitation of religion for political and partisan purposes
          have, regrettably, not had the desired effect.
          138. Pseudo-religious extremism reached its height with the terrorist attacks
          of 11 September 2001, the shock waves from which triggered unprecedented regional
          destabilization. There is now an urgent need to confront the challenges presented by the
          scourge of religious extremism, but above all to address the scourges of poverty, injustice
          and underdevelopment, which are a breeding ground for all kinds of extremism, including
          religious extremism.
          139. The Special Rapporteur wishes to recall, however, that not everything can be
          justified or legitimized by the war on international terrorism. The world is slipping
          dangerously down on the road of war and repression - a route which is depicted as
          unavoidable, but which is highly likely to lead to even more violent confrontations that can
          only fuel terrorism, since terrorist movements spring up and spread where freedoms are
          impaired and safeguards curtailed.
          140. The values and principles that form the basis of human rights and guarantee their
          universality, indivisibility and interdependence must be respected and the unacceptable
          page 25
          stigmatization of Muslims now occurring in many countries must cease. In other words,
          the vicious circle condenming the other to sacrifice on the altar of the defence of civifization
          must be broken.
          141. In that regard, the Special Rapporteur recalls that education and interreligious
          dialogue are vital pifiars of the strategy to prevent, in the medium and long term, the
          violations now occurring as a result of religious extremism; the policies, legislation and
          practices that target religious minorities; and the pseudo-religious discrimination directed
          against women.
          142. As to the use of education to promote the protection of and respect for freedom of
          religion or belief in order to strengthen peace, understanding and tolerance among
          individuals, the essential components should be school curricula and textbooks on
          education for tolerance, in particular religious tolerance, and for non-discrimination on
          racial grounds, in subjects such as history and other sensitive areas where teaching can
          shape students' perception of cultures and civifizations other than their own. It is also
          important to review teaching methods and improve teacher training.
          143. In these particularly difficult times, the Special Rapporteur believes that far greater
          attention should be paid to educating children in tolerance and invites the international
          community, States and all interested parties to consider ways and means of using schools to
          reinforce the prevention of intolerance and discrimination on the basis of religion or
          conviction. For his part, the Special Rapporteur will spare no effort to facifitate the
          implementation of the recommendations contained in the fmal document adopted by the
          Madrid Conference. History has shown that there can be no peace among nations without
          peace among religions and, on a planetary scale, the dialogue among cultures and
          civilizations cannot exclude the interreligious dialogue.
          144. Interactive participation and renewed effort on the part of the main religious actors
          wifi also be required in order to understand the kinds of “otherness” that mankind so
          badly needs and to bear further witness to the vital role of the interreligious dialogue as a
          factor in preventing conifict.
          145. Muslim religious leaders, for their part, also have an important role to play in
          providing information on the nature of Islam, since Islamophobia thrives on others' lack of
          knowledge. Greater exposure of the Muslim authorities to the public at large will rob the
          Islam-terrorism equation of its potential for harm.
          146. The Special Rapporteur believes that he must not only continue with his
          investigations into infringements of freedom of religion or belief, his appeals to
          Govermnents and his reports on the situation to the international community, but also
          step up his efforts to fmd solutions that wifi make it possible to deal with both the
          manifestations of intolerance and discrimination and their true causes.
          147. In order to gain an understanding of the specificities and similarities of these
          complex and sensitive issues and to obtain a global overview of intolerance and
          E/CN. 4/2003/66
          page 26
          discrimination based on religion or belief, the Special Rapporteur has undertaken a series
          of studies, the latest of which, on the status of women in the light of religion and traditions,
          was submitted to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-eighth session.
          148. The Special Rapporteur believes that studies should be made of the issue of so-called
          “sects” and religious extremism and that an in-depth examination of the post-li September
          situation should be carried out.
          149. He also repeats his recommendations on the holding of international high-level
          govermnental meetings on the sect issue, in order to establish a common approach that
          respects human rights and, in particular, freedom of religion; on religious extremism, with
          a view to adopting certain common minimum rules and principles of conduct and
          behaviour; and on pseudo-religious or pseudo-traditional discrimination against women,
          with a view to adopting a genuine plan of action.